Establishing human rights key for inclusive social progress towards SDGs

Speakers at the celebration of the 70 years of observation of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) has pointed out that although Bangladesh is making socio-economic progress, there is rising inequalities too.

National Human Rights Commission, with support of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), organised a discussion to mark the day at Hotel Intercontinental in Dhaka on 10 December, 2018. Swiss Development Cooperation and Swedish International Development Agency were partners.

Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, who was the chief guest, said Bangladesh constitution entails the UN charter for human rights that ensures basic rights for all.

“The seventy-year observation of UDHR is a milestone for the history of mankind. The declaration enables the states to make sure that everyone irrespective of cast, colour, religion and creed gets their basic rights and dignity in society,” he added.

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The chief justice also called for incorporating human rights education in the national curriculum: “Assisting young people to incorporate human rights values into their daily lives is a concrete way to prevent discrimination, promote inclusion and respect for diversity.”

“We are working together with public and private organisations to increase accessibility of those physically challenged. We have also taken measures for their easy access to all modes of transport including metro rail and water vehicles,” NHRC Chairman Kazi Reazul Hoque said.

UNDP Country Director Sudipto Mukerjee pointed out that the fundamental principle of the UDHR is that all human beings are born free and equal, both in rights and dignity.

“The rights that the UDHR encompasses  – all of them are crucial for the development of a nation.  The UDHR does not create a class system of rights, they are of equal value.”

“The Declaration was in many ways ahead of its time, and it is time that we affirm once again that development is about ALL human rights.  In fact, sustainable development is all about human rights.”

Among others, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Alison Blake, Swedish Ambassador Charlotta Schlyter, Swiss Ambassador René Holenstein spoke at the event.

Sheepa Hafiza, Executive Director, Ain o Salish Kendra; and Mahbub Uz Zaman, Secretary-Bilateral (Asia and Pacific), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, were also present.

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